Delhi Jal Board blames change in weather pattern and withdrawal of subsidy by state government for increased power bills

Power consumers in the Capital slapped with much higher bills than before should rest the blame on the weather, global warming and the Delhi Government for withdrawing the subsidy, say power distribution companies.

Even as consumers in the city are left doing the arithmetic on how their electricity bills have shown a significant rise in the past few months, the discoms are pleading not-guilty. The companies claim that the “freak and unpredictable weather conditions like increase in temperatures, excessive rain in some parts, while droughts in others – all synonymous with global warming – are very much evident in India since the past few months” and are in turn responsible for the increase in consumption patterns.

Pointing out that the companies had to supply almost 20 per cent more electricity in their areas in June this year than the corresponding period last year, a discom official said: “The unprecedented heat wave sweeping across North India this summer saw Delhi becoming the second highest power (4,408 MW in July) guzzling State in North India.”

The discoms say “increased” electricity bills in the last couple of months are fallout of this increased consumption. Another reason cited for the jump in the billed amount is the withdrawal of the subsidy by the Delhi Government. “The subsidy came to an end on May 31. All bills from the billing date of June 1onwards are higher on that account as well,” said the discom official.

The official added that excessive use of air-conditioners, refrigerators and other cooling appliances too have contributed to the increased bills. “There was excessive use of air-conditioners and refrigerators in the wake of the unprecedented heat wave. So much so that even the thermostats hardly worked. Moreover, air-conditioners and refrigerators would consume significantly more energy per hour of usage if the ambient temperatures increase by 10 degree. This is exactly what happened this year.”

The discom official said that owing to the heat wave, consumers in Delhi who were accustomed to using their air-conditioner at 25 degree Celsius started using them at 18 degrees.

“Duration of air-conditioner usage increased from about four hours a day last year to about 12 hours this year,” the official said.

Finding themselves at the receiving end of the consumer’s ire, the discoms are quick to point out: “There is nothing that has been done from our side that could have caused a jump in the bills. We have on the contrary been stressing the need to conserve energy. We have been urging consumers to follow tips on power conservation,” said the official.

Doling out energy saving tips, the discoms point out cleaning tube-lights and bulbs regularly can save up to 50 per cent light, energy efficient CFLs use 80 per cent less energy, electronic appliances should not be left on the stand-by mode and gadgets switched-off from the remote control continue to consume electricity. A survey has shown that Delhi loses about 175 MW due to gadgets in the stand-by mode.

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